Earlier in this season, Terrelle Pryor was bent on staying at Ohio State for his senior season. To the joy of Ohio State fans, they would have yet another season to have their former super recruit put them in the National Title hunt.
And it made sense for him to. He’d have another chance to make a run at the Heisman, as he was projected to be the leader at the start of the year. He’d have another chance to lead Ohio State back to the BCS title, and, most importantly for his future, he’d have a chance to develop as a passer.
But news today of his NCAA infractions and his eventual suspension next season could drastically alter the tune of his early season guarantee.
The NCAA announced today that Terrelle Pryor along with four others would be suspended for the first five games of the 2011 college football season (why the bowl game isn’t included is another story in itself, and embarrassing of the NCAA).
This suspension announcement came on the heels of news being reported that Pryor and his four teammates were selling items and autographs for tattoos, though it also appears that some of the money made by Pryor was sent home for his mother.
Pryor solid his Big Ten Championship Ring form 2008, his “Golden Pants” (award given to the victors of the Michigan vs. Ohio State game every year) and his 2009 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award. Because of these sales, the NCAA also fined Pryor $2,500 dollars.
So, thanks to his future suspension that would put him out for almost half of his 2011 regular season, rumors have surfaced that he may consider declaring early for the draft.
Which would be an awful decision for the quarterback.
First off, he’s not a first round talent, not even close to Andrew Luck of Stanford, Ryan Mallett of Arkansas, Jake Locker of Washington, and probably not close to Cam Newton of Auburn.
And even past those likely first round quarterbacks, he wouldn’t be a lock to be the number five quarterback, not on our board. Pat Devlin of Delaware, Colin Kaepernick of Nevada, and Christian Ponder of Florida State all are better than Pryor based on our scouting.
Pryor has developed into a better pocket passer this year. He’s got a great arm and can make plays on the outside with both his arm and legs. His athletic ability that he’s been working with since his senior year of high school, however, has not developed into Cam Newton like success, which most expected when he went to Ohio State.
He needs a lot of work with his footwork on a consistent basis. He has improved it slightly, but it pressure situations or if he’s forced to go to his 2nd or 3rd option, his technique gets sloppy. Most of the time he’s run a one read system at Ohio State, and hasn’t been able to consistently make reads against better, pass rushing defenses. He also doesn’t have great deep touch and struggles with quick and deep outside passes, a crucial part of a quarterback’s repertoire for the NFL.
All in all, Pryor may never be a 1st round quarterback. But as of right now, he’s only a slightly better version of Joe Webb of the Vikings, who’s not exactly a franchise guy. That’s not going to get him far in the NFL.
He has the tools and athletic ability and has improved a lot this year from his freshman and sophomore seasons. But if he declares for the draft this year, he’ll never get a chance to fully develop, even in practice, at Ohio State, and could go from developing college quarterback to quickly forgotten about young NFL passer.